Wood BOE to hear cell phone report

PARKERSBURG – The Wood County School system may revise its communications and electronic devise policy following reports of the pilot program enacted at some schools earlier this year.

At next week’s board of education meeting Mike Winland, director of secondary schools for Wood County schools, will present board members an update on the policy, based on reports from principals. In January, the county’s three high schools and Jackson Middle School began testing the pilot cellphone policy, allowing students access to electronic devices during their lunch period, in designated areas and in classrooms for educational purposes.

“In discussing with how smartphones, iPads and eReaders impact classes maybe it was time to revisit and change the current policy,” Winland said.

It was difficult to get consistency with the policy’s enforcement throughout the county, Winland said.

Parkersburg South High School Principal Tom Eschbacher supports a more relaxed policy. He believes if students want to cheat in the classroom they will try either by electronic or old-fashioned means.

At Parkersburg South, students can use electronic devices before and after schools. Eschbacher said when the test policy took effect in January it was a big deal with students initially.

“But after a week or two it died down.” he said.

The school system first adopted a electronic communications policy in 1993 and have periodically made revisions, the last in 2010.

“I think we are going to be looking at changes at the current policy,” Winland said. “I don’t want to predict how much, but we will be making some changes and putting it out for comment for people to view.”